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Journalism

LATIN AMERICA: MIGRATION, ORGANIZED CRIME, HUMAN RIGHTS

Gunfight in Guatemala. Read

Finding Oscar: Massacre, Memory and Justice in Guatemala. Read

Central American Migration. Read

The Death of Argentine Prosecutor Alberto Nisman (AMIA Terror Attack). Read

INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM AND INTELLIGENCE

Terror in Europe

How Europe Left Itself Open to Terrorism. Read

ISIS Via WhatsApp: Blow Yourself Up, O Lion. Read

Terror in Europe (Frontline PBS documentary). Sebastian was correspondent and co-writer. Watch

The Mumbai Attacks

The Hidden Intelligence Breakdowns Behind the Mumbai Attacks. Read

The American Behind India’s 9/11. Read

American Terrorist (Frontline PBS documentary). Sebastian was narrator and correspondent. Watch

A Perfect Terrorist (Frontline PBS documentary). Sebastian was narrator and correspondent. Watch 

RUSSIAN CRIME/POWER NETWORKS    

A Gangster Place in the Sun.  Read

Russia’s Shadow War in Europe. Read 

THE SPRINGSTEEN CONNECTION 

The songs: Balboa Park and The Line on The Ghost of Tom Joad album, 1995.

The articles that inspired Bruce: Children of the Border. Los Angeles Times, April 4, 1993. Read

Border Patrol Push Diverts Flow. Los Angeles Times, Oct. 17, 1994. Read

The backstory: In 1995, when I was based in San Diego covering the Mexican border, I got a call from a music magazine. The reporter said: “Bruce Springsteen thanks you on the liner notes of his new album. How do you feel about that?” It took me a minute to get my head around the news. I had been an avid fan of Springsteen in high school and college; his music and lyrics had influenced me as a young writer. But I’d never had contact with him. I had no idea that, years later, he had read my border coverage in the Los Angeles Times while doing research for The Ghost of Tom Joad, an album about immigrants, wanderers and outcasts. My stories inspired two songs on the album, Balboa Park and The Line. I was honored and overwhelmed. Bruce invited me to the concert that launched the Tom Joad tour in Los Angeles. We stayed in touch, and he graciously wrote the blurb for the cover of my first book, Twilight on the Line. (Not surprisingly, Valentine Pescatore is a Springsteen fan.) There’s a verse in the song “The Line” that comes from an interview I did in 1994 with Ramon, a border vendor, on a Tijuana hilltop overlooking the nightly duel between the migrants and the Border Patrol. In my latest novel, Rip Crew, the connection comes full circle. The book’s epigraph is Ramon’s quote, which 24 years ago began an improbable journey into my writing and Springsteen’s lyrics: “Hunger is a powerful thing.”